Saiorse for Richard Southern Campaign

Richard Southern is innocent of the Murder for which he was convicted and sentenced to Life Imprisonment in 1997.

Due to the failings of his legal advisors and those of our whole legal system, he and through him You, were denied a fair and just trial.

I know that will not sound too unfamiliar to you, we have all heard and seen many cases of innocent men and women having their names cleared up to 50 years after them having been HUNG! Some less catastrophically, maybe, after they have been imprisoned for up to 30 years!

Similar instances have become a Fact Of Life, but not a necessary one and one we can all, realistically, do something about.

Richard was aware of the circumstances that led up to the murder that he was wrongly convicted of, not who committed the crime. Only through his genuine and natural fears for the safety of his family and himself did he withhold these circumstances from the police.

It is Richards totally understandable fears that allowed those responsible to use him (unwittingly and unwillingly) as a scapegoat, a sacrificial lamb which they were able to do with the aid of an under funded Police force and an overloaded judiciary. Added to this are the only too human errors concerned in the corruption present in such public bodies.

The murdered man was found some time between 12 noon and 3:15pm on Saturday the 9th September 1995. Some Time, because there are contradictory versions of evidence on this point of the prosecution case, as there is concerning every matter of the prosecution case. E.g. There were reports front neighbours of the murdered man that his flatmate was seen at the premises (the scene of the crime) from lunchtime up to 2.30 p.m. crying, from 45 minutes up to three hours before that declared to the police by the flatmate and one other prosecution witness as the time they discovered the body. - Why did the police not make anything of these evident contradictions? '

This contradictory evidence was kept from the trial jury by Richards own defence team, contrary to his instructions to them concerning these matters. Not only was over 90% of the evidence kept from the jury by his defence team but Merseyside Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and numerous Judges have also assisted in limiting or controlling the evidence heard by the trial jury.

The trial jury heard only 10% of the whole case. They also heard from less than 25% of the total number of witnesses. Three of the witnesses whose evidence was used to convict Richard Southern did not even have to attend court and were, therefore, not allowed to be cross examined in front of the jury. Fundamental times relied on by the prosecution "The Crown", given in the evidence of these witnesses statements read out at trial just happened to coincide with the time of death given by the judge during his summing up when N0 witness, professional Nor otherwise gave a time of death at court nor in their statements.

How can a judge decide a time of death, when the professionals in such fields could not or would not? The only answer to that question is that the judge's error (accidental or otherwise?) only helped the prosecution case it did not help justice.

The times given in the statements of these three witnesses not only did they just happen to coincide with the judge giving a time of death, but those times also just happened to coincide with another error the judge made in his summing up, that of the judge misquoting the time by an HOUR, given at court by a witness claiming they had seen somebody (that they couldn't say was male or female, nor what colour/type of clothing that somebody wore at that time) in the street outside their home almost immediately after they had heard one "Bang" (the murdered man was said to have been shot twice). This somebody being some 75 yards from the said scene of the crime.

Are these errors of the judge all concentrated within a fundamental 54-minute time span just coincidence? They all help the prosecution case. Can you believe they are accidental?

The main prosecution witness admitted and was convicted of possessing, intent to supply and supplying class "A" illegal drugs, namely Heroin and Crack Cocaine on at least 4 counts while waiting to give evidence against Richard. Upon being sentenced for these offences his punishment was not a custodial sentence, (even Richard Bacon, ex-Blue Peter presenter was sentenced to a period of imprisonment for just 1 count of intent to supply supplying a lesser" addictive form of cocaine than the main prosecution witness against Richard was) which could have been in the region of 15 years, but a 55 fine and 180 hours of community service.

The same prosecution witness also admitted possessing illegal firearms and ammunition yet received no punishment for those crimes despite them carrying prison sentences of up to 10 years.

It is this prosecution witness without whose evidence Richard would not have been brought to trial who twice stood up in court and admitted having his hit of heroin before taking the stand.

One of the solicitors who worked on Richards case was subsequently  convicted of supplying undercover police with 50,000 Ecstacy tablets !!!

During the investigation of the murder numerous potential prosecution witnesses admitted being concerned in the supply of illegal drugs for the police to press no charges as it not serving the public interest, yet after Richard was charged with murder the police then charged him with an offence of fraud relating to obtaining property from a catalogue, members of Merseyside police informed Richard's family that should the murder charge against Richard be dropped or collapse, that they were going ahead with the fraud charge (which added up to 790 - 900's worth of goods). What is that if not a prime example of the polices differential treatment of prosecution witnesses compared with that of an accused.

The European convention under article 6 "The Right To A Fair Trial" states that any citizen of the European community charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum right (among others) -"To examine or have examined, witnesses against them and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him"

Why then was Richard Southern denied the right and provisions of not only British Domestic Law but also his rights as stipulated under the articles of the European convention?

"Saiorse",

Richard Southern,

HMP Frankland,

March 2003

Richard Southern

TH 1430

HMP Frankland

Brasside

Durham

DH1 5YD "Saiorse", Gaelic for ‘Freedom"

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Update: Tommy Campbell and Joe Steele

In February Tommy Campbell and Joe Steele went back to court for legal arguments on their appeal. Tommy was in agony. His back had gone again as it does from an old spinal fracture suffered at the hands of screws in Peterhead Prison in 1985.  Officials told him to stay away. He wouldn't. They had to carry him into court and out again. But no harm - he just wanted to show them that he was still there, still fighting. as he has been for the last 19 years. 

The Crown in Scotland were arguing that the appeal could only be heard on the one ground referred by the Commission. And then in the same breath arguing that if the court accepted this they should throw out the case since that was already dismissed by appeal judges in 1998. Anyone smell fear in the air? The Wigs' terror that this appeal will demonstrate how rotten the justice system was in 1984? We have to remember that while the main two police officers in this case are now dead, there are one or two of the lawyers moved on to higher and significant posts.  If there is a full appeal hearing they will end up looking far from clever.  Some may question their integrity. Others their competence.

Arguments took place about law, the Human Rights legislation and Scots Law's capacity to cope with duties it would previously have rejected. 

Tommy and Joe wanted the right to appeal on whatever grounds their lawyers choose, it will have an immediate impact on every other appeal application in Scotland. 

And they got a result, judges ruled that any evidence that Tommy and Joe want to put to the court shall be admitted. This ruling will give new hope to many not least of these is Megrahi, the guy now in Barlinnie convicted of the Lockerbie bombing and many believe to be an innocent imprisoned.

Since the introduction of the Human Rights Act, in Scotland a lot of decisions are now going the way of the prisoners fighting to get out of prison and this is the first positive decision for those out of prison and still fighting to clear their names.

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Role of Special Units in the Prison Service establisment

Karen Walsh, a long time prisoner visitor and writer to many many ‘Hostages’ is researching the role of Special Units such as Red Spur at H.M.P. Whitemoor. All her correspondence to date has been to and from either Prison Service Headquarters or the Home Office. In the interests of fairness she would like to be enabled to contact prisoners who have been through the assessment stage at one of the 8 feeder (High Security Estate) prisons and beyond that stage. Also she would like to contact inmates who have attended one of the Special Units to enable them put forward the reality of their experiences as it's the only way the research can reflect a balance.The information is not readily available from grass roots level ie; the 'prisoner's experience' All she can glean at the moment is from the Home Office, documents on the internet and out of date press articles

Below are the questions she would like answered, Karen is highly recommended by MOJUK and all answers would be in strictest confidence.

  1. Did you choose to volunteer to go to one of the Special Units and why?

  2. If you chose to volunteer what persuaded you?

  3. If the prison recommended that you go, how far into your sentence were you at that point?

  4. Do you think there is sufficient balanced information available to prisoners on the function of the Special Units?

  5. Have you been furnished with the (holding) prison report findings as to why you were considered a suitable candidate to go to one of the Special Units?

  6. Have you been furnished with the (holding) prison report findings as to why you were not found a suitable candidate to go to one of the Special Units?

  7. Did you feel pressured in any way to volunteer to go to one of the Special Units?

  8. How would you describe the assessment process to determine whether a prisoner is suitable to attend one of the Special Units?

  9. How long did you have to wait for the results of the assessment, and how were you informed?

  10. Were you told what qualifications were held by the person who carried out the assessment?

  11. If your assessment report stated that you were not a suitable candidate for one of the Special Units did it document any useful and relevant recommendations that you should follow at the holding prison?

  12. How long did you have to wait from being informed you were a suitable candidate for one of the Special Units to being afforded a place?

  13. Can you give a description of the differences between the prison where you came from and the Special Unit environment?

  14. Did you feel the information you had been given at the prison prior to your attendance at the Special Unit was excellent, sufficient, or could be improved on?

  15. How would you describe the therapy offered at the Special Unit?

  16. Do the reports suggest that you benefited from the therapy received at the Special Unit?
  17. How long did you stay at the Special Unit?

  18. Where did you go when your stay at the Special Unit came to an end?

  19. Was it made clear what your future prospects are now in relation to your sentence as a result of any findings at the Special Unit?

K. Walsh researcher

c/o of Open Minds
P.O. Box 212
Warndon
Worcs
WR4 9QZ